What Are Period Cramps
Most women have experienced dysmenorrhea, or period cramps, at some time. It tends to happen just before and during the menstrual cycle. What does it feel like to have period cramps? Its often described as a cramping or constant ache in the lower belly and lower back back. The intensity varies some women dont experience cramps or theyre very mild, while for other women, it can be painful enough that normal day-to-day activities are affected.
What causes period cramps? During menstruation, the uterus contracts as it gets rid of the lining thats what the blood is. The contractions are what cause the cramping. Thats normal cramping, anyway. Other conditions, like endometriosis and adenomyosis, can also trigger period cramps.
What relieves period cramps fast? This also depends on the woman. Over-the-counter medications can help, as can birth control pills . Warm compresses applied directly on the abdomen can help. But ultimately, many women just wind up grimacing and bearing the pain each month.
Period Pain And Fertility
Period pain that’s part of your normal menstrual cycle will not affect your fertility. However, if the cause is a medical condition, this may affect your fertility.
For example, endometriosis and pelvic inflammatory disease can cause scarring and a build-up of tissue in your fallopian tubes, making it harder for sperm to reach and fertilise an egg.
Pop A Safe Painkiller To Cut The Inflammation
Moderate use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication like ibuprofen or naproxen is one of the best ways to curb period pain, Thielen says. This is because NSAIDs reduce the amount of prostaglandins in the body. For this reason, taking a pill just before you get your period can keep the level of pain-causing prostaglandins from rising, she says.
As with any medicine, you should first check with your doctor to be sure NSAIDs are a good choice for you, especially if you have a history of bleeding or stomach or kidney issues.
If the NSAIDs you buy in the store dont offer enough relief, your doctor might prescribe an NSAID with more potency. Some women need up to 800 milligrams three times a day for cramps. Youd have to take a lot of over-the-counter pills to equal that, Thielen says.
Recommended Reading: How To Tell Period Is Coming
Drink Water To Calm Down The Body
While in class and the cramps are distracting you, drink a sip or two of water to calm down the body.
Drinking water immediately helps relax the muscles and decrease the severity of cramps. In general also, during periods, drink plenty of water so that the toxins are flushed out of the system early and you have a happy time in coming days.
Thus, you suffer cramps but for a smaller duration. Drinking water also helps keep vaginal infections caused during periods at bay.
Can Bad Period Cramps Be A Sign Of Something Else
Period cramps usually dont signify that something is wrong with your health. But in some cases they can be a symptom of a medical condition:
- Endometriosis This disorder occurs when tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus, often adhering to your bladder, ovaries, or even your bowels.
- Uterine Fibroids These are noncancerous growths that emerge inside the uterine walls. They can range in size from one tiny speck to several bulky masses.
- Adenomyosis Tissue that normally lines the uterus begins to grow inside the organs muscle wall.
Pain from these conditions may seem like period pain, but it typically lasts longer and can be more severe than your usual menstrual cramps.
If you experience this type of pain, its important to see your doctor, Thielen says.
While It May Seem Like Your Menstruating Teen Is Being A Drama Queen Menstrual Cramps Can Be Really Painful Roughly 50% Of Teens Suffer From Menstrual Cramps And In 15% The Pain Is Severe Enough To Interfere With Normal Activities Since The Average Girl Today Starts Menstruating At Age 10 An Adolescent With Difficult Periods Can Expect A Minimum Of 240 Days Or Over 8 Months Of Pain Before She Even Leaves Her Teens
While it may seem like your menstruating teen is being a drama queen, menstrual cramps can be really painful. Roughly 50% of teens suffer from menstrual cramps and in 15% the pain is severe enough to interfere with normal activities. Since the average girl today starts menstruating at age 10, an adolescent with difficult periods can expect a minimum of 240 days, or over 8 months, of pain before she even leaves her teens.
While endometriosis or another gynecologic issue is possible, most teen cramps are not an indication of a serious problem. The culprit is usually increased production of prostaglandins, a hormone-like substance that can cause intense uterine contractions. Some teens also experience monthly diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.
Pms Symptoms And Causes
PMS symptoms usually start 7 to 10 days before menstrual flow begins and end shortly thereafter. PMDD is the term used to describe severe PMS symptoms. This conditions follows the same cycle and range of symptoms, but produces a more debilitating outcome. But even for general PMS, some months PMS symptoms can be worse or better than others.
Possible symptoms of PMS include:
- Consuming alcohol and caffeine, which may alter mood and energy level
- Eating too many salty foods, which can cause fluid retention and bloating
- Lack of exercise
Other health conditions that share symptoms with PMS include anxiety, depression, chronic fatigue syndrome, endocrine system problems, irritable bowel syndrome , and menopause. Your doctor might check to see if one of these other issues are at the root of your symptoms.
The good news is if you can improve your diet, manage stress and take some of the suggested natural remedies, you can greatly learn how to reduce PMS symptoms and get rid of period cramps.
You May Like: Does American Home Shield Have A Waiting Period
Period Pain Relief Through Movement And Exercise
Get moving! Whether its a walk around the block, a HIIT workout oryoga, exercise can help. Exercise increases blood circulation, which can reduce cramps. Exercise is also known for lowering stress and your stress levels are directly related to the severity of your cramps!
Not feeling that energetic? Here are two simple moves you can try to help tackle period pain:
If you want help feeling more comfortable while exercising during your period, give our moisture-wicking period pantiesa try!
What Is A Menstrual Cycle
The menstrual cycle is cyclic changes that occur in a woman’s body every month.
The menstrual cycle is cyclic changes that occur in a woman’s body every month. During the menstrual cycle, the levels of reproductive hormones change, the egg is released from the ovary, and the uterus is prepared for pregnancy.
The typical female menstrual cycle is 28-30 days. Some women may have a shorter cycle of around 20 days or a longer cycle of around 35 days. The first day of the menstrual cycle is when a woman starts bleeding. Periods usually last for three to seven days in most women. Ovulation occurs between 11-15 days of the menstrual cycle but most commonly on the 14th day. During ovulation, usually, only a single egg is released from the ovary.
When the sperm meets the egg , pregnancy occurs. If fertilization does not occur, the uterine lining sheds and presents with bleeding, marking the onset of periods.
Don’t Miss: Do You Have Periods When Pregnant
Start Hormonal Birth Control
Birth control can stop period pain if cramps are caused by a hormone imbalance. Balancing your levels of estrogen and progesterone helps thin the uterine lining so it sheds more easily. Hormonal birth control also regulates the length and frequency of your period. Some forms of birth control can completely alleviate period cramps by stopping your period altogether. Talk to your OB-GYN about birth control options, including the pill, birth control shot or hormonal IUD. Then, youll be able to choose the type of birth control that works best for you.
If youve tried all the treatments on this list and still have painful periods, or you want to know up front which option will work best for you, talk to your primary care doctor or OB-GYN. At HealthPartners and Park Nicollet, our womens health doctors can prescribe stronger treatments for menstrual cramps. A little help from a doctor might be the best way to stop dreading your periods.
When Do People Usually Get Cramps
It is no secret that pain symptoms can appear at specific times in a womans cycle.
- Perimenstrual cramps. Pain starts before your period and lasts during menstruation. It can be felt in the lower back and thighs.
- Mid-cycle/ovulation pain. This pain can also occur in the middle of your cycle. Ovulation pain is usually felt in the lower abdomen. It may last from a few hours to even a couple of days.
Don’t Miss: Can I Get In The Pool While On My Period
Can We Drink Milk In Periods
Dairy isnt a smart choice. Dairy is a major part of a well-balanced diet, but eating too much cheese or consuming too many milk-based products on your period can cause your period cramps to worsen. In fact, dairy can lead to bloating, gas, and diarrhea, according to Healthline. So, play it safe and skip the ice cream.
What Food Helps Period Cramps
Walnuts, almonds, and pumpkin seeds are rich in manganese, which eases cramps. Olive oil and broccoli contain vitamin E. Chicken, fish, and leafy green vegetables contain iron, which is lost during menstruation. Flaxseed contains omega-3s with antioxidant properties, which reduce swelling and inflammation.
You May Like: How To Help Period Cramps Fast
Care Advice For Menstrual Cramps
Causes And Risk Factors
Doctors distinguish between two types of period pain, called primary and secondary dysmenorrhea. Primary dysmenorrhea is where the period pain is caused by the womb muscle contractions alone. Hormone-like substances called prostaglandins play an important role here. They influence the perception of pain and cause the muscles in the womb to tighten, helping to shed the lining of the womb. Primary dysmenorrhea is more common in women under the age of 30 and women with heavy periods. It can run in families, and stress can play a role too.
Period pain that is caused by something other than the muscle contractions is called secondary dysmenorrhea. Benign growths in the womb, such as fibroids or polyps, are often responsible for secondary dysmenorrhea. Severe period pain may also be caused by endometriosis. In endometriosis, the kind of tissue that lines the womb grows elsewhere in the abdomen too. Sometimes contraceptive coils used for birth control can also cause secondary dysmenorrhea.
Recommended Reading: Can You Take A Pregnancy Test While On Your Period
What Can I Do For Cramps
If cramps bother you, you can:
- Take a pain reliever. Talk to your mom or dad or your doctor about which medicine is best for you. They can help you figure out how much to take and how often.
- Exercise! Being physically active can ease cramps, probably because exercise releases endorphins, which are chemicals in the body that make you feel good.
- Get warm. Try placing a warm water bottle, warm heating pad, or warm compress on your belly or take a warm bath.
If these tips dont help, talk to your parent or your doctor about other treatments.
How To Get Rid Of Period Cramps 10 Secret Weapons
Ever wonder how to get rid of period cramps? I know. It might seem strange that, as a man, Im offering advice on how to combat painful periods. But with so many women suffering from painful PMS symptoms each month, its a topic Ive wanted to tackle for some time now.
Recommended Reading: How To Stop Your Period For A Few Hours
Pms Symptoms Vs Early Pregnancy Signs
There are common symptoms, like fatigue, that overlap between PMS and pregnancy. Without a positive pregnancy test, you might be wondering is it PMS or am I pregnant? The two most common overlapping symptoms are breast tenderness and stomach cramping, but thankfully there are some ways to differentiate between the symptoms.
If youre pregnant, you may experience implantation cramps. If youre about to get your period, then you might experience cramps a day or two before you get your period. How do you tell the difference? Implantation cramps are typically felt shortly after ovulation rather than right before your period is due. Menstrual cramps occur a day or two before menstruation starts and are typically more intense than implantation cramps.
When it comes to breast changes, your breasts may feel tender with early pregnancy, as well as PMS. However, a breast change that is common with pregnancy, but not PMS, is a darkening of the areola.
Unique early pregnancy signs:
Pop A Pain Med Before Your Cramps Start
No surprise here, but taking a pain reliever can, um, relieve pain. Ibuprofen lowers your levels of prostaglandins, which are the hormone-like substances that trigger uterine cramping and cause pain and inflammation. And you don’t need to wait until you’re miserable to take a pain relieverif your cycle is pretty regular and you know when your period is coming, you may be able to stave off cramps before they even start. “Take pain relievers at the very beginning of your period, before cramps become intense,” Dr. Winter says. Just make sure you follow the dosage recommendations on the box, and give your parents a heads-up that you’re taking it.
Also Check: How To Make Period Cramps Go Away